From your reply here, I can’t help but think that the collaboration is less between the various Twitter users, but between the computational system and the reader. That is to say, that the collaboration is between the algorithm that pulls and displays the tweets with no bias of a human “sensibility” (anything that fits the parameters is included, regardless of the specifics of the content) and the reader who then creates connections and meaning between these “lines” where there was originally none.
Do you think this would work as well if the pieces wasn’t as ephemeral?
The major difference between “I am” and “PostSecret” and “Whisper” is of course the fact that the contributors to “I am” are contributors without having requested being so. And as you write, they are probably not even aware of having taken part. What I find interesting is not so much the question of the intentionality of the people involved as what the poem manages to do. Having discussed the poem in classroom settings with students, what I have found is that it ignites ideas and thoughts about our contemporary situation. It does so partly due to its specific form – its anaphoric style, its design and layout, its neverendingness, etc. But also due, of course, to its multitude of voices. Looking at the poem while writing this, “I am the cutest“ moves downwards, followed by ”I am actually losing the will to live”. Taken one by one, such statements can be regarded as funny or moving or sad. Taken together they become more than that. I see the Twitter writers as co-authors. Including their thoughts in the poem is, as you write, not an ethical issue, but I think it is important to note that these are tweets. The writers have made the decision to share their thoughts with others in the public realm. Their thoughts are recontextualized but they are already out there. It gives the statement another bearing, and it makes it easier seeing the writers as co-authors. Seeing them as collaborators in a strict sense may be pushing what collaboration “is”. But that is the kind of discussion the poem “I am” opens for.
In many ways this project makes me think of PostSecret (http://www.postsecretcommunity.com/) or Whisper (http://whisper.sh/), but without the layer of “authorial” curation or even contributor intention. Therefore, I am curious as to your thoughts regarding unintended collaboration, particularly of the Twitter users who probably don’t know their tweets are being incorporated into this art project. Not as an ethical issue, because Twitter is a public personal broadcast system and therefore “fair game” creatively, but in regards to the conceptualization of collaborative art, authorship, and story.
I really like this piece. Like the other subjects covered in this week’s posts, #TGIT has fascinated me as a scholar and as a viewer. I have been struck by the fact that #TGIT promotes flow by devoting an entire night’s worth of programming to the series of one showrunner. It has also occurred to me that by encouraging viewers to tweet along with each show’s cast and crew during the broadcast, #TGIT has promoted the need for a person to watch television live instead of delaying his or her viewing for a later time. Because I have found these and other aspects of it fascinating, I am glad someone has done a post about #TGIT.
I really like this post. It brings to mind another Shondaland show that has appeared on the airwaves in the time since this post. Recently, I wrote an essay in which I looked at the series How to Get Away with Murder through the lens of black feminist theory. Using Patria Hill Collins’ work as a guide, I discussed the show’s treatment of conventional stereotypes of African-American women.
I argued that in certain respects, How to Get Away with Murder reflects these stereotypes through the character of Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). Specifically, I found that aspects of Annalise’s personality reflects the “matriarch,” ‘Black lady’ ” and “jezebel” or “whore” stereotypes (Hill-Collins 69, 70-72, 80-81). Annalise’s matriarchal nature is evident in her domination of her “children,” her law students and associates, often to their detriment. She also personifies the ‘Black lady’ stereotype through her focus on her career goals, often to the detriment of her personal relationships. Thirdly, Annalise’s sexual behavior, such as her extramarital affair, reflects the jezebel/whore stereotype.
However, I also argued that despite its reflections of the aforementioned stereotypes, the show’s representation of African-American women is not completely negative. First, I argued the show also challenges the matriarchal stereotype through Annalise’s twofold impact on her children’s lives. Though Annalise’s matriarchal dominance often harms her children, it also benefits them. For example, through her control over their lives, Annalise helps her students and associates avoid prosecution for their various crimes. Thus, Annalise’s domination is not totally represented as a negative element. And, I argued How to Get Away with Murder reflects what HiIll-Collins calls “the emergent woman” image of African-American women (95-96). Specifically, the series portrays Annalise Keating as an individual who has the strength to overcome various personal hardships. Thus, Janelle’s post makes me think of my own study of Annalise Keating and How to Get Away with Murder.
Work Cited Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. 2nd ed. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.
Though I am several years late, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your piece, Stefania. I also feel your observations about the recurring traits of Shonda Rhimes’ shows still apply in the present day. I can still see these elements in the Shondaland programs currently on television. These traits are especially evident on the shows that have appeared on the air in the time since your post’s original publication, such as How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch. I also like your choice of Shonda Rhimes as the subject of your post. I find her work as a showrunner and the U.S. television industry’s treatment of her fascinating. Thus, I always enjoy seeing studies on Shonda Rhimes and/or her shows. Thank you for curating this post.
Fortuitously, my #WGS361 students are reading all of the Pokemon Go posts for class this week: http://edmondchang.com/courses/361/. Pokemon Go is one of the games we are looking at this week.
Thank you for your post, Rossend. I really enjoy it. You address issues of How to Get Away with Murder that have preoccupied me as a scholar and as a fan. Your discussion of the show’s “narrative complexity” especially strikes me. I have been reading Jason Mittell’s work on the subject narrative complexity on contemporary television, particularly his book Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York University Press, New York and London, 2015). As I read his descriptions of complex television and its elements, I often think of “How to Get Away with Murder.” Even before I read your piece, I have felt that the show has some of the same elements of narrative complexity described in the book. One such element is the program’s tendency to “reorder events through flashbacks, retelling past events, repeating story events from multiple perspectives, and jumbling chronologies” (Mittell 26). I have also been struck by the fact that “How to Get Away with Murder” combines episodic and serial formats. The program has story arcs that encompass many episodes or entire seasons, such as the mysteries concerning the deaths of Lila Stansgard and Sam Keating, the shooting of Annalise Keating, and the present mystery concerning the identity of the body found in the Keating house. However, there are also storylines that are resolved within the length of a single episode, such as some of the cases undertaken by Annalise’s law firm. In these and other respects, “How to Get Away with Murder” has seemed to me to be an example of complex television. Thus, I am struck by someone’s use of the phrase “narrative complexity” to describe the program.
I do wonder about the proportion of Pokémon Go play that happens during daylight hours versus at night, which would speak to how exactly the game fits into our everyday routines (and interestingly is another way of considering the rural/urban divide… I’ve heard everything from “rare spawns at night” to Niantic nerfing evening spawn rates to discourage “unsafe” activity, but have no idea what’s true). After the intense flurry of the first few months after release, my Pokémon playing is now less predictable and more opportunistic, and definitely confined to the daytime.
Speaking of intertextuality, a new little web-based game just hit Kongregate entitled “That Pokeyman Thing Your Grandkids Are Into” (Punch the Moon, 2016): http://www.kongregate.com/games/claedalus/that-pokeyman-thing-your-grandkids-are-into